It’s bad news for the embattled Speaker of the House and the Republican congressional leadership. Just months ago, the public was much more confused about whom to blame if the government were shut down. But according to a new CNN/ORC International survey, the public would now blame congressional Republicans much more than they would blame President Obama.
“Only a third would consider President Barack Obama responsible for a shutdown, with 51% pointing a finger at the GOP – up from 40% who felt that way earlier this year,” CNNPolling Director Keating Holland explained.
In March of this year, 38% would have blamed President Obama while 40% would have blamed Republicans and 19% would have blamed both. The September poll has Republicans bearing the brunt of the blame, with 51% blaming them and only 33% blaming Obama and 12% blaming both. Thus Republicans stand to bear the brunt of the blame if the government is shut down.
Things are even worse for Republicans when it comes to the debt ceiling. If the debt ceiling is not raised, only 25% would blame Obama while 54% would blame Republicans. In July of 2011, 30% would have blamed Obama and 51% would have blamed Republicans.
House Republican leaders delayed a vote on a bill to avert a government shutdown Wednesday because they lack the votes. The Tea Party is insisting that Republicans do anything, including shutting down government, to defund ObamaCare, but leadership knows that this is not only an unpopular idea, but it could be politically deadly.
The CNN poll only reinforces what non Tea Party Republicans already know – they can’t afford to be blamed for a government shutdown.
This can only be seen as a warning shot for Republicans who are still threatening to shut down government and are childishly tying raising the debt ceiling to delaying the implementation of ObamaCare. But Republicans may not have the courage to do what they need to do in order to save their party from the tea fallout.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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